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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Tony Brown, head coach of the Brooklyn Nets stands on the bench during their game against the Toronto Raptors at the Barclays Center on April 13, 2016 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Tony Brown, head coach of the Brooklyn Nets stands on the bench during their game against the Toronto Raptors at the Barclays Center on April 13, 2016 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

ICYMI from Raptors Republic

 

Talking Raptors Podcast, S3 E15 – What a time | Raptors Republic

Nick and Barry cannot believe they live in a time where Cisqo’s an NBA player, and that he gets to guard Kyle Lowry in the playoffs

3 In The Kiy: Q & A With Jack Armstrong | Raptors Republic

I’m sure they have their thoughts on how they value Biyombo, and I think Biyombo’s done a great job for them. You know – rebounding, shot-blocking, energy, he’s done a beautiful job. I’m sure they already have a fixed value that they’ll look at him with. But I think a lot more of that value will be truly tightened up and figured out when they finally have an opportunity to breathe and the season is done. So, honestly, I don’t really worry about things like that right now. I mean, that’s stuff that’ll play itself out way, way, way deeper into the Spring and early Summer. I don’t worry about any of that right now. I don’t think they do either. I think they already know what he’s worth, what his value is – but I think they’re more curious now with their own team to see which guys emerge as point-by-point performers. And that truly gives them a better idea of the value you attach to that guy.

 

Articles from around the Internets

 

Raptors’ reserves rally for one last regular-season win | Toronto Star

In the most meaningless game on the schedule, Casey got a strong showing from his young reserves, who help make this team’s potential tantalizing. They erased a 20-4 Nets first-quarter lead and held on for the win behind Powell’s career-best 30 points. Terrence Ross had 24 points and 10 rebounds off the bench and Wright had 18 points, seven assists and five rebounds in the first start of his career.

Ross was a rookie in 2012-13 when the Raptors won just 34 games. He remembered playing out the string that year.

“It sucks, especially when you know you’re not going to the playoffs and not really playing for anything. It makes the season that much longer,” he said.
“It sucks; there’s really no other way to put it.”

Raptors Win D-League Bowl 103-96 Over Nets | Raptors HQ

Norman Powell’s emergence is real. The kid’s showing off the full repertoire on offence – hitting 3s, pullups, driving to the hoop effortlessly, making the extra pass, everything. He had a career high 30 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. 12-18 shooting, 5-6 from 3. He was absolutely amazing.

The Nets lose their final game of the season 103-96 to playoff bound Toronto | The Brooklyn Game

As the game started to slip away from the Nets in the third quarter, a wave of clarity washed over me: this was always how this season would this end. Not with a bang, but with a whisper.

The end: Nets finish season on a 10-game losing streak, 103-96 | NetsDaily

Brooklyn started the game with a 21-4 run. It was looking a lot like Monday night against the Wizards … just reversed. Then, before you knew it the Raptors took a 38-37 lead in the second quarter and never looked back.

The Nets did a good job of fighting throughout, but fell back by 16 in the third quarter and failed to fully recover.

Toronto Raptors end season on a high with win over Nets | Raptors Cage

Defence: A

It would of been more interesting to see how the young almost 905 side handled the likes of a Jarrett Jack or Brook Lopez however it wasn’t to be. In the end the best the Raptors had to deal with was Bogdanovic – aside from his 29 no Brooklyn player managed more than 12 points. The Nets were held to 43% from the field and were unable to get any much of a lift after a strong start to the first quarter. The Raptors did a reasonably good job of protecting the rim although at times as often this season Brooklyn was their own worst enemy. How the organization managed to sell 16,500 tickets to tonight’s game is quite remarkable.

2016 Playoffs: Raptors vs. Pacers Series Preview | Toronto Raptors

Shooting Stars:

While Toronto has been led by the All-Star play of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan all season, Paul George has been doing the same for Indiana. After missing 76 games in the 2014-2015 season because of an open fracture of the tibia and fibula bones in his lower leg, George returned to start in 81 games this season, averaging 23 points, seven rebounds, four assists and nearly two steals per game. The three-time All-Star is a lethal scorer and the Raptors will have their hands full trying to contain him. While Carroll looks forward to the challenge of stopping the opponents’ best scorer, DeMar DeRozan had one of his most memorable defensive sequences of the season against George down the stretch in Toronto’s overtime victory against the Pacers. DeRozan is averaging 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. Lowry is averaging 21.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 2.0 steals. Expect the Raptors to give George different looks with different defenders. Expect the Pacers to try to make life difficult on DeRozan and Lowry — while also keeping them off the free throw line— and force other Raptors to step up.

Pacers are quicker, more athletic than Indiana teams of old | Toronto Star

“(Paul George) is not a one-on-one matchup,” Kyle Lowry said when the first-round matchup was set. “(Carroll) is going to spend time (defending Geroge). DeMar (DeRozan is) going to spend time, Norm (Powell) . . . everybody is going to have a touch of him. We’ve all got to be prepared to go out there and play.”

But the Pacers are more than George and as much as they wanted to be small and fast and pace-and-space, their season improved when they played a more traditional style more often.

With Ian Mahinmi giving them a solid presence at centre and rookie Myles Turner emerging as a solid power forward, the Pacers are better able to rebound and defend teams that don’t want to try to match them with small lineups.

The backcourt of Hill and Ellis is offence-oriented and Indiana seems content on using their skills to outscore opponents rather than beat them in a grind out game.

Next up: #Playoffs.

A photo posted by nina-toronto (@ninapizans) on

Raptors & 3-point shots: Playoff difference-maker | Raptors Rapture

Ironically the Toronto Raptors are one of the four playoff teams who have surrendered more three-point field goals than they have made. Despite overcoming this to find great success in the regular season, winning the three-point battle in the playoffs will be paramount for them winning round one.

The biggest reason for the Raptors offensive success this season has been their ability to draw fouls and get easy points from the free throw line. Toronto is second in free throw attempts (27.0) and makes (21.0) per game.

The Raptors will need to look to the three point arc to make up for the potential lost points they are accustomed to getting from fouls. Fortunately the team has the long range firepower to do so. Toronto is fourth in the league this year in three point percentage. They shoot 37% from deep and have six players with at least 75 three point attempts who also shoot north of 36%.

Pacers will likely try to beat the Raptors from the outside | Toronto Star

Strength
Perimeter scoring: The Pacers can score in a variety of outside ways, they have good three-point shooting with C.J. Miles and Paul George, plus the backcourt combination of George Hill and Monta Ellis. Toronto hasn’t been among the best defending the three-point line; it might be a weakness that Indiana can exploit.

Tough life experiences have strengthened Raptors’ Casey | NBA.com

DeRozan, 26, has become a two-time All-Star at shooting guard while playing for Casey. The impact on 30-year-old Lowry has been even more pronounced: He has escaped his negative reputation as a hardheaded teammate while earning a place in the last two All-Star games, most recently as a starter on his home floor in Toronto. Lowry and his teammates have grown to respect the enduring focus of their coach.

“We actually seen him on the plane one night, fighting sleep to watch film,” DeRozan says. “He kept nodding off. But he was watching the film. He wasn’t going to stop watching.”

“It was after a game,” Lowry says, and then he does the imitation: Elbow on the table, pen poised high between fingers, his head drifting and then snapping awake, dozing and snapping upright again.

“It was late,” says DeRozan, sticking up for his coach.

“But it was a classic moment,” says Lowry, laughing. “I wish I had it on video. I would put that on Instagram immediately. But he works, man, and you’ve got to respect it.”

Casey deserves to be back as Raptors coach: GM Ujiri | Toronto Sun

Ujiri did not have to strongly back Casey, who is completing the final guaranteed year of his contract extension. The team has an option for next season but has not said anything about picking it up. All has been quiet on that front all season.

But asked about the job Casey and his staff have done in this record-setting season, Ujiri didn’t hesitate to lavish praise on the winningest coach (in terms of both victories and winning percentage) in franchise history.

“He’s been phenomenal I think, whether it’s reading games or adjustments, or just growth overall as a coach,” Ujiri said at the team’s practice facility.

“To be honest, everyone makes such a big deal like ‘OK, if we don’t make it past the first round, what will happen to Casey?’ Well Coach Casey deserves to be our coach, that’s 100 % and I stand by that. He deserves to be our coach in the future because he has put in the work I think to bring winning to our program. The players have responded well I think, and it has translated a little bit and we hope it translates to the playoffs and I’m very hopeful it will because he’s a defensive minded coach but he’s been tremendous for us.”

Raptors GM upbeat on Casey — Dwane ‘has put in the work’ | Toronto Star

The Raptors president and general manager shot down any perception that Casey’s future is tied to how the team does in its series with the Indiana Pacers.
“Everyone makes such a big deal like ‘okay, if we don’t make it past the first round, what will happen to Casey?’ Well, Coach Casey deserves to be our coach, that’s 100 per cent and I stand by that,” Ujiri said Thursday morning in an end-of-regular-season media session.
“He deserves to be our coach in the future because he has put in the work I think to bring winning to our program.”
Casey has just finished his fifth season as the team’s head coach and has a contract that expires this summer. He has taken the Raptors to franchise-record heights, with the team’s win total increasing in each of the last three years, culminating in the first 50-plus win season ever this season.
However, the Raptors have not escaped the first round of the playoffs in either of the last two springs, furthering speculation that a series win would be needed for the coach to get a new deal.

The Best and Worst from the Raptors record-setting 2015-16 season | Sportsnet.ca

MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE
Norman Powell’s emergence

DeMarre Carroll’s injury problems and James Johnson’s reliability problems created a void on the wing. After some seasoning in the D-League, Powell, the 46th pick in June’s draft, has slid into a starter’s role by shooting 42 per cent from three-point range since the all-star break, and playing fearless defence against some of the league’s most dynamic perimeter players. Now, the Raptors might have found a rotation player for the next two years at a bargain rate, which is why Powell gets the nod here over Bismack Biyombo’s excellent season.

DeMarre Carrol dishes on bringing ‘an extra boost’, fasting | Toronto Sun

Carroll was happy to be out with the starters more and is eager to reclaim his larger role, though he doesn’t want to rock the boat.

“I’ve got to come out and try to give these guys an extra boost. These guys have been playing great all year so hopefully I can bring an extra boost,” Carroll said.

Carroll hauled down six rebounds and hit a couple of three-pointers, but that wasn’t where his focus was.

“I’m very weird. A lot of people say you played great, but they probably only look at the stats the only number I look at when I come in is my plus-minus. If I have a great plus-minus I’ll feel like I affected the game in a positive way.

Carroll was then told he was +21 in the third quarter as the Raptors went from down eight points, to up by 13.

“Well, that’s good. I’m great. Mentally, I was taking it game by game and I think today I found it.”

Free Association: The Freebie Awards | Sportsnet.ca

The guys start the podcast talking about the value of “three and D” players and debating if DeMarre Carroll should start for the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs.

At the 10-minute mark, Donnovan Bennett has an in-depth conversation with Hall-of-Famer Dominique Wilkins on the resurgent Atlanta Hawks, the new look Toronto Raptors, the growth of basketball in Canada and his memories of playing during the golden age of the NBA in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

At around the 20-minute mark, Donnovan and JD handout the “Freebie” awards crowning the best (and worst) performances of the 2015-2016 NBA season. Although they agree on many of the awards they find a way to disagree on why. Their disagreement culminates in an off topic argument about the state of wing players in the NBA at the 28-minute mark.

Raptors Norman Powell Deserves Rookie Of The Month | Pro Bball Report

Powell was second in minutes played (254) among Eastern Conference rookies in April, first in field goals attempted (73) and made (40), first in three-point shots made (15), first in free throws attempted (35) and made (27), fourth in assists (20) and second in steals (11). His 122 points scored was 35 more than the next closest rookie and his 15.3 points per game was first as well. The Raptors were a plus 37 points with Powell on the court in April, the second best plus/minus total among Eastern Conference rookies.

Eventually, Casey might have to stop calling Powell’s scoring gravy.

Analyzing the Raptors’ overhauled Pick & Roll defense | Hashtag Basketball

To disallow pick and roll ball-handlers from entering the middle of the floor during a side pick and roll, the Raptors’ guards will force the ball-handler away from the direction of the screen and towards the sideline, as well as down towards the baseline and the secondary defender who protects the paint.

Most teams are accustomed to this defensive treatment on side pick and rolls and to combat this, they will generally “flip” their screener so the ball-handler will gain some separation, even if it isn’t as great of separation when compared to getting into the middle of the floor.

Even when the screen is “flipped” on the Raptors’ guards, keeping the ball-handler out of the paint and forcing them to help defenders remains a priority, one which is generally upheld.

The Raptors have reaped the rewards of their hard work and fundamental change as they now rank in the top five in fewest points per possession allowed to pick and roll ball handlers. 2

Did I miss anything? Send me any Raptors-related article/video: [email protected]

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